by Ben McCarthy
Bangkok, Thailand is the world’s most traveled-to city. It beats Rome, Paris, London, even New York. And yet, many still find visiting Bangkok to be unappealing, a trip for backpackers and college students. These notions are misguided. Bangkok can accommodate both budget travelers and those seeking luxury digs and fine dining. As a Nyacker who has recently traveled to Bangkok, I can attest to what a special city it is. I’ll guide you through what to do, see, and, of course, eat if you do choose to visit (I’m not being paid to advocate on the city’s behalf). But first, let’s focus on booking your flight and getting to Thailand.
Booking a flight from New York
All international flights from New York depart from either John F. Kennedy (JFK) or Newark International airport. When looking for flights, use a website like Farecompare; or if you are a student, STA Travel. Make sure to compare various sites and always, always try and book a couple months in advance.
Furthermore fly with an airline that is ranked well and known to be both reliable, safe and comfortable. There are a range of airlines that fly to Thailand and some are much better than others. A decent airline can make all the difference on a 20+ hour flight. Specifically, I recommend EVA Air, ANA, Qatar, Emirates or Cathay Pacific. While these airlines may seem expensive they often offer flights well under $1000 USD.
For obvious reasons, book a flight that is under 25 hours — I’ve taken a 25 hour flight, and it is hell. Try and find a flight that is short and direct.
Arriving in Bangkok
Almost all international flights arrive at Suvarnabhumi International airport (pronounced suwanapoom). Thankfully the airport is equipped with a clean, quick, and easy to use public transport system, called the Airport Rail Link. Located on the basement floor of Suvarnabhumi, it costs around 40 baht (35 baht to $1) to reach the end of the line (Phaya Thai station) and is a fast way to get into the center of the city or to one of Bangkok’s other train lines (the BTS, MRT, SRT). If you are staying somewhere close to one of the stations then this is the option I would recommend. However, the link stops running from 12am-6am.
Taxis are also not hard to find; but make sure the one you choose has a working meter. Look for the pink taxis on arrival. And have fun!
Ben McCarthy is a senior at Hunter College studying pre-med and creative writing. He is also the lead guitarist in the alternative rock band Regret the Hour. Check back in next Wednesday for what to eat in Bangkok.